Frequently Asked Questions
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»What is the national identity for public health departments?
The national identity for public health departments comprises a visual symbol, also referred to as a logo, and a carefully chosen thematic message that immediately and consistently identifies the people and work of public health departments throughout the United States.
NACCHO, a nonprofit membership organization representing local health departments throughout the United States, created the national identity to help increase the visibility of local health departments and broaden the public’s understanding about the role of local health departments and how their work benefits both individuals and the community-at-large. State health departments are encouraged to adopt the national identity. Over time, use of this recognizable symbol should reassure people in the community that their public health department is working for their health and safety.
The logo has three aspects: a three-sided blue shield; a stylized "plus" sign on a khaki background; and the words "Prevent. Promote. Protect."
The shield is a symbol that illustrates health, protection, and growth. The three point symmetry reinforces the three core functions of public health that are conveyed in the theme line: Prevent. Promote. Protect. Like police and fire, the shield differentiates health departments as both a sentinel and responder, and the shape is clearly distinctive in silhouette.
The Stylized "Plus"
Consistent with the three curved sides of the shield, the three prongs represent the three core functions of public health—assessment, assurance and policy development. The stylized “plus” symbol is also reminiscent of the universally-recognized Red Cross symbol, which is firmly associated with health in the public’s mind.
Over the years, the stylized “plus” sign has been interpreted several ways. Some see a stylized human figure with arms outstretched in a benevolent gesture. Others see in the prongs pointing upward and outward as a representation of our common aspiration to improve the health of all. Still others see a tree which is a universal symbol of life. None of these interpretations are wrong because the symbol is an abstraction (like the Nike "swoosh") and lends itself to many interpretations.
Blue and khaki are the same colors used in U.S. Public Health Service uniforms. These neutral colors prevent clashing with other health department logos, should a health department wants to use two logos together.
The WordsThe three words "Prevent. Promote. Protect." are a simple, firm, elegant statement about what public health does and what public health achieves.
NACCHO created the logo to identify and distinguish governmental public health, which has unique legal responsibilities and authorities. NACCHO encourages all governmental public health departments to use the logo. It is a free tool and can be used as an agency's primary logo or alongside existing logos. Broader use by private or non-profit entities, though they may be part of the public health system, is not permitted. For more information on how to use the logo, click here to download the usage guide.
The logo colors are Pantone Matching System (PMS) 289, PMS 465 and White. The logo may be reproduced in a four color process separation of PMS 289 = 100% cyan, 64% magenta and 60% black; PMS 465 = 20% cyan, 32% magenta and 58% yellow.
The logo should not be rearranged, altered, or changed by adding or deleting elements or changing font type or color. In response to specific requests, we have developed some additional versions of the logo including a Spanish-language version; a version without the tagline; a white version for use on dark colors; and versions that allow health departments to customize by adding an agency or program name. For more information on how to use the logo, click here to download the usage guide.
Download one of the two customizable versions of the logo here in EPS format. Then simply alter the text to add your LHD or program name.
You will need to have Adobe Photoshop on your computer to customize the logo. If you do not, please contact Alisa Blum for assistance.
Yes. The tagline of the logo, "Public Health: Prevent. Promote. Protect." is not protected intellectual property. Those words have been used many times in that form and in variations. NACCHO asserts no ownership rights over that tagline and we would be delighted to see it come into wider use in the public health field.